“I think it’s us,” said Tanduay Alab Pilipinas team owner Charlie Dy when asked who would post the biggest threat to Hong Kong Eastern’s reign in the ABL this season. His confidence was not unfounded. Now backed by a company that has been long involved in the Philippine basketball scene in Tanduay, Alab formed a much deeper squad compared to their maiden season in the ABL.
Led by the legendary Jimmy Alapag who will be making his debut as a head coach, the Filipino squad will still be led by reigning Local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. along with the returning Robby Celiz and Lawrence Domingo but the three are the only remaining members that survived Alab’s massive transformation.
They put together PBA D-League champions with able PBA veterans who are out to prove they still have enough gas in the tank and mixed in two solid imports in Ivan Johnson and Reggie Okosa.
However, Hong Kong Eastern also retooled in the off season as they scored a massive upgrade in one of their Heritage import slots by getting Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger. The big man who gained popularity because of his exploits with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones cup, FIBA Asia Cup, and SEA Games will play on home soil for the very first time but he’ll have his home country fans cheering against him as he takes on Alab.
Reigning World and Heritage import MVP Marcus Elliot and Tyler Lamb will be the focal points of Hong Kong Eastern’s offense so the big question for Alab in their first game is how to defend these two.
Expect fireworks as the defending champions start their title-retention bid against a hungry Tanduay Alab Pilipinas squad that’s eager to perform under the bright lights of the Mall of Asia Arena.